I know I’ve talked about what inspired me to write the Forever Avalon series, but inspiration is one thing … Creating the legend of a new realm of magic is another. I know I could have created my own world—like Middle Earth, Azeroth, the Four Lands or Westeros—but I was trying to set my stories based partially in our world, using the myths and legends I grew up with. That’s why I chose Avalon. It is somewhere that people have heard of before, yet since there are no specific accounts about it in detail, so I could make it into the world I wanted it to be.
I want to tell you my story of Avalon and the best way to do that is to go back to the beginning. Here is an excerpt from Forever Avalon. I hope this will help to explain my idea for the island of Avalon and how it exists in our world today. Then, maybe, you’ll continue the journey through The Dark Tides: Book Two of the Forever Avalon series and The Outlander War, the next installment coming soon.
Bryan walked over to the fireplace, tossing in a few logs to stoke the fire. “Tell me,” he started, “what do you know about King Arthur?”
Both Stephanie and the children were confused by his question. “What?” she asked.
Bryan turned around and sat on a tall stool by the fireplace, continuing to smoke his pipe. “King Arthur. You know, the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin the Magician, quest for the Holy Grail …
She was completely lost by what he was saying to her. Bryan saw the confusion, taking his pipe and tapping it against his hand so the ashes fell into the fire, as he began to tell his tale.
“No matter what you may have read in books or what movie Hollywood made, King Arthur was real … The stories are true. He united all of Britain into one kingdom, through the power of his sword, Excalibur, and that of his trusted advisor, Merlin the Magician.
“And like the stories say, he was fatally wounded by his illegitimate son, Mordred, at the Battle of Camlann where he eventually died. Merlin knew that with Arthur’s death, the age of magic would come to an end and he could not allow that.
“The legend tells of the last of Arthur’s knights, Sir Percival, throwing Excalibur back to the Lady of the Lake as Arthur was carried out to sea to the island of Avalon. That part of the story is only partially true.
“Arthur was taken to Avalon, but not as the legends described. In reality, Merlin combined his power with that of Excalibur to purge man’s world of all magic. He created a kind of mystical wormhole—for lack of a better term—sucking everything magical into it and bringing
it here to Avalon.”
Stephanie stared at him in disbelief. “Avalon? We’re on the Avalon?”
“Yes, this is the magical island where all things of legend and myth now exist. Elves, Dwarves, unicorns and dragons as well as trolls, goblins, ogres and other assorted dark creatures. Merlin brought them all to Avalon, beginning a new age of magic here.
“You see, the laws of science don’t exist here, only the laws of magic. Cell phones, computers, automobiles—nothing mechanical or electrical like that can function in Avalon. Over the years, people have tried to make machines work, but they could never do it. The best inventions to hit these shores that actually work were gunpowder and indoor plumbing.”
The kids laughed, but Stephanie was still struggling to comprehend what Bryan was telling them. “That’s why practically everyone on Avalon can use some kind of magic,” he added.
“Is that how you were able to make the sand and water turn into dragons?” Rose asked her father.
“Yes, exactly. I’m known as a DragonMage. I can cast spells that are elemental in nature, like dragons. You know—earth, fire, water, and air,” he said as he held up his pendant and showed it to them.
Stephanie saw the subject was getting off track. “So, how big is this island and why isn’t it on any maps?”
“It’s roughly the size of Texas, give or take a few miles,” he explained. “You see, Avalon exists outside the normal plane of existence, in another dimension. It’s cloaked from the real world by a magical barrier.”
“But if it exists in another dimension, how did we get here?”
Hunter asked. Bryan moved over to the table, sat down across from his family and poured himself a cup of tea. “Over the years, the barrier protecting this island has weakened.
“Over the years, the barrier protecting this island has weakened. The wizard’s council theorized that storms in the Atlantic caused instability in the barrier, allowing people and objects to pass through. Something else they’ll probably chalk up to global warming I suppose,” he said as he took a sip of tea. “Anyone who passes through the barrier ends up on the southern beaches of the island, where I found you.”
They all stared at him in silence and disbelief. “Well, why do you think they call it the Bermuda Triangle?” he exclaimed. “Planes, boats and people have been disappearing for years—usually in bad weather—and they all ended up here on Avalon. The ones who survive either adjust to living in a medieval society or end up as a slave or dead.”
“So what’s your story? How did you adjust?” Stephanie asked somewhat sarcastically, using her fingers as quotation marks to emphasize her words. Bryan sensed the tension in her voice, realizing that the truth was hard for her to accept.
“Actually, my story begins back at the beginning of Avalon,” he told her, leaning back in his chair and filling his pipe again. “You see, when Merlin cast his spell, some humans came along with him and all the magical beings to Avalon. Among them were Sir Percival and Queen Guinevere. Together, they organized the people to build a new home. We call it New Camelot.
“No sooner did they finish when they were attacked. The forces of darkness, led by the sorceress Morgana le Fay, wanted to destroy Guinevere and enslave the humans, so she gathered together goblins, trolls and other evil creatures who would side with her.
“Fortunately, the Elves of Alfheimer came to the human’s aid and formed an alliance with New Camelot. They united under the banner of the Pendragon, but they needed someone to lead them into battle. That someone was Sir Percival.”
“Did he take up Excalibur and become the new king?” Rose asked.
“Not exactly,” Bryan explained, “Excalibur was shattered by Merlin’s spell. Merlin knew that New Camelot was united under Queen Guinevere; so they didn’t need a king, but they needed a champion.
“With the help of the Dwarves of the Gilded Halls, the shattered pieces of Excalibur were forged into two weapons—Twilight and Dusk, the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon,” Bryan proclaimed as he put his pipe down on the table, stood up and drew the two swords from their hilts showing them to his family. “These swords would be used to defend all of Avalon against evil, tyranny, and corruption.”
He held out the gold sword, letting them see it up close. “Twilight is the sharpest blade ever made; it can cut through anything. The magical light that shines from this blade will pierce any darkness.”
Bryan then held out the black blade. “This is Dusk, blackened by the darkness that sickened King Arthur because of Morgana and Mordred. It’s a soulless void that sucks the life out of my enemies. These swords represent the balance between order and chaos,” Bryan concluded as he sheathed the swords and sat back down.
“To distinguish himself as a champion and not a king, Percival changed his name. He called himself the Gil-Gamesh, a name he had heard during his quest for the Holy Grail. It was the name of a hero in ancient Persia and now it was the name of the champion of Avalon.
“For thousands of years, the descendants of Percival have taken up the mantle of the Gil-Gamesh, defending the people of Avalon from generation to generation.”
“What a minute,” Ashley said, “That guy Biscuit called you Gil- Gamesh.”
“That’s right,” Bryan answered. “I am the 37th Gil-Gamesh.”
“But that’s not possible,” Stephanie inquired. “How can you be a descendant of Percival? You’re from our world, not Avalon.”
“Well, it seems that before the Battle of Camlann, Percival became deathly ill and was taken in by a widowed farmer and his daughter somewhere in southern Wales,” Bryan explained. “The woman nursed Percival back to health and fell in love with him, even though he was
devoted to both God and to his King.
“Percival got better and left the farm, but not before the young maiden took something from him, probably when he was asleep. His journals talk about a night when his dreams were filled carnal lust for this young farm girl, which is why he decided to leave as soon as he was well enough.”
“She had sex with him while he slept?” Stephanie asked.
“Ew-w-w, gross!” Hunter remarked.
“So it would seem,” Bryan said, sipping his tea. “As a result, Percival’s descendants remained in the outside world. I am a direct descendant of Sir Percival Peredyr. It is that genetic makeup that allows me to wield the swords.”
“I don’t follow you,” Ashley inquired.
“Well, you see, since Percival and his descendants have been the only ones ever to wield Twilight and Dusk, the swords have become attuned to Percival and his descendants—sort of like a magical DNA link.
“Over 500 years ago, the 36th Gil-Gamesh, Ethan Peredyr, was assassinated along with his entire family. The realm was thrown into utter chaos. With no one to defend the realm, dark forces raised havoc across the land.
“However, in that dark time came a prophecy … A descendant of Percival would come from the outside world to take up the mantle of the Gil-Gamesh. So the lighthouse and this house were built,” Bryan said, motioning to the surroundings, “and when anyone came through the barrier, the Outlander was tested to see if he was the descendant the prophecy spoke of.”
“Tested?” Stephanie asked, “How?”
“Only a true heir of Percival can wield the Twin Swords of the Dragon Moon. Anyone else touching the swords is consumed by their power. Many died during that time until I came through. Call it fate or destiny—I am the heir of Percival and it is my duty to serve Avalon
as the Gil-Gamesh.”
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse. The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.